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The Baseball Winter Meetings have just concluded, so it's an
appropriate time to announce our 2015 Softball Award Winners.
Our 37th season saw Ed Kaltz get his 1000th career basehit,
Bob Blair his 900th and Erik Schneider his 600th. Kaltz also
collected his 600th RBI. Harry Penczak surpassed the 300
games-pitched plateau. Mike Newcomb's over-the-wall homer
in the final doubleheader of the year prevented our team HR
leader from having just one on the season (as happened twice
in 1987 & 1988 when multiple players had one each). Coach Kurt
appeared in two games, giving him 36 active seasons and as one
observer in the MSU Football press box observed, "There should
be a law against that."
TEAM CO-MVPs: HARRY PENCZAK & ERIK SCHNEIDER. Each
received four of the 11 votes cast. This marks the second consecutive
year Harry and Erik have tied for MVP honors.
Hurler Harry proved to be the only player on the team capable
of pitching the ball over the plate. He tossed a shutout to give him
a career total of 5.5 (one shared shutout). Harry topped the team in
at-bats (91) and was second in hits (47) & RBIs (39). Also, he was
kind enough to host the team's post-season party.
Team MGR Erik led the club in hits (50), doubles (8), RBIs (50)
and sac-flies (8) and was second in at-bats (89) and batting average
(.562). He was two runs away from tying for the team lead in runs-
scored (amazing considering he was often removed for a courtesy
FYI: Harry is scheduled for foot surgery in January so he has
a chance to be faster than Erik next year. (It turns out he fractured
the foot in September and played through October.)
MR. T AWARD: JEFF SAKATA. Close voting among the coaching
staff selected Jeff for his playoff performance.
In the three tournament games in our Sterling Hgts. summer
championship run, Jeff played errorless in the field while going
8-for-10 with 8 runs, 4 RBIs, a triple and three walks for a batting
average of .800 and on-base percentage of .846.
Incidentally, Jeff was also the team leader with a .583-BA for
the combined spring/summer and fall seasons, tops among players
with enough ABs to qualify.
In most past years this award went to the best player in the annual
MESS Tournament in Traverse City. With the death of the MESS
after 2014, we reverted to awarding this honor to our best playoff
performer. (Like in the years when we were banned from the MESS.)
ROOKIE-of-the-YEAR: CHARLIE WASIL. A second season acquisition
from the S-Hgts Fire Dept., Charlie solidified the middle infield and
the middle of the batting order. Charlie hit .783 (18-for-23) with a
dozen runs-scored in his eight games and also drew a half dozen
walks for an .828-OBP.
In a season where one third of our 24 players were first-timers but
only two had significant playing time, Charlie was a no-brainer choice,
which is why C-Kurt picked him.
The Award You've Been Waiting For.....
STIFF-of-the-YEAR: BOB BLAIR. The Bobcat received three of the 11
votes cast in STIFF competition with several others receiving two votes
each. Even though he was 9-for-12 with 6-R & 5-RBI in the summer
playoff championship run, Bob was apparently dishonored because he
A) Broke his hand and missed most of the spring/summer season, B)
Didn't play in the fall season and C) Failed to show for the team party.
This marks an awards Grand Slam for Blair, as he's a multi-time MVP
and a Mr. T winner and was Rookie-of-the-Year in 1986.
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